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2023 climate statistics and 2024 start:

2023 climate statistics and 2024 start:

The warmest December in state history, coupled with the 2nd warmest ever November-December combination helped make the year 2023 the 8th warmest in Minnesota history (back to 1895). Here is the listing of the top 8 warmest years, with the statewide mean temperature:

1987 45.3°F
2012 45.2°F
1931 45.0°F
1998 44.9°F
2016 44.6°F
2006 44.4°F
2021 44.3°F
2023 44.2°F

The year ended with the wettest December in state history (statewide average precipitation of 2.35 inches compared to a normal of 1.00 inches), but this did not make up for the rainfall deficits that brought drought to the state earlier in 2023. The statewide average precipitation for 2023 was 25.72 inches, about 1.5 inches below normal. Some long-term climate stations reported one of their driest years of record, including:

Albert Lea in Freeborn County (22.30 inches), 9th driest
Preston in Fillmore County (18.07 inches) 9th driest
Pipestone in Pipestone County (18.07 inches) 5th driest
Spring Valley in Fillmore County (18,95 inches) driest ever

After a record-setting month of December (in both temperature and precipitation), January has begun cooler, but still warmer than normal. Through the first few days of the month most climate observers are reporting temperatures that are 8°F to 12°F above normal. January has been drier than normal too, with little snow on the ground in most places. According to the DNR-State Climatology Office most places around the state report no snow cover or less than 1 inch of snow cover.

Most outlook models are favoring closer to normal temperatures for January, with more frequent chances for snowfall. Because of a strong El Nino episode, both the NOAA Climate Prediction Center models and the European climate models favor a warmer than normal February and March for Minnesota, so I would not be surprised by an early spring.

Weekly Weather Potpourri:

This week at the NOAA web site there is a featured article about climate anomalies and impact since 2015 (the year of COP25 and the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases more aggressively). It is revealing to find that major climate impacts have continued to increase in frequency and impact, while most countries have struggled to reduce emissions at an accelerated pace.

The BBC reported that record-setting snows and cold caused a great deal of travel difficulty in parts of Sweden, Finland, and Norway this week. Many motorists were stranded by heavy snows and had to be rescued. In some parts of northern Sweden, the temperature fell to -45°F or colder.

A recent paper in the journal Nature Climate Change documents the necessity of public behaviour change in order to mitigate climate change. The authors argue that inequality, in the form of income, political influence, and access to low-carbon options inhibits certain groups of people from behavior change that would help fight climate change. The authors suggest that better urban planning and more strategic policymaking with respect to reducing carbon footprints would be ways to mitigate these inequalities.

MPR listener question:

With all the stories about unsafe ice on area lakes, we wondered how deeply the soils are frozen now. Seems like most of the December rainfall went into the soil.


Yes, indeed the December rainfalls were good for soil moisture recharge, as the warm weather kept them from freezing up. The recent turn to cooler temperatures has caused some soils in western and northern areas of the state to freeze to a depth of 4 inches or so. However, many eastern and southern counties still have unfrozen soils.

Twin Cities Almanac for January 5th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 24 degrees F (plus or minus 13 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 10 degrees F (plus or minus 14 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for January 5th:

MSP records for this date: highest daily maximum temperature of 47 degrees F in 1885; lowest daily maximum temperature of -14 degrees F in 1912; lowest daily minimum temperature of -28 degrees F in 1924; highest daily minimum temperature of 33 degrees F in 1946; record precipitation of 0.63 inches in 1932. There was a record 4.7 inches of snowfall in 1994.

Average dew point for January 5th is 5°F; the maximum dew point on this date is 39°F in 1915; and the minimum dew point on this date is -38 degrees F in 1924.

All-time state records for January 5th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 62 degrees F at Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine County) in 2012. The state record low temperature for this date is -44 degrees F at Mora (Kanabec County) in 1988 and at Embarrass (St Louis County) in 2018.. The state record precipitation for this date is 2.05 inches at Wheation (Traverse County) in 1997. The state snowfall record is 24.0 inches also at Wheaton (Traverse County) in 1997.

Past Weather:

With little snow on the ground, March-like temperatures prevailed across much of Minnesota on January 5 of 1902. Many communities reported afternoon high temperatures in the 40s F. After a morning low of just 4°F, Montevideo reached an afternoon temperature of 43°F.

Record-setting cold temperatures had a grip on the state for January 5 of 1912. Most areas reported subzero temperatures ranging from -25°F to -39°F. Four northern communities reported morning lows of -40°F or colder. The afternoon high temperature at Thief River Falls only reached -28°F.

Over January 4-5 in 1997 a winter storm brought a mixture of rain and snow to much of Minnesota. Some areas reported rainfall amounts of a half inch or more, while travel in western counties was hampered by freezing rain. Many northern areas received from 10 to 20 inches of snowfall. Wheaton and Wadena reported over 2 feet of snow and some local area schools had to close on Monday, following the snowy weekend.


Continued mostly cloudy skies and warmer than normal temperatures into the weekend. There will be a chance for snow on Saturday, and again Monday into Tuesday. More snow may arrive later on Wednesday and extend into Thursday, this time with falling temperatures that are closer to normal. By next weekend temperatures will be colder than normal with some subzero morning lows in the north and single digit lows in the south.

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